Our Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jonathan Jay studies urban health, especially youth exposure to gun violence, as an assistant professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He works at the intersection of data science and community health, focusing on relationships between the built environment and health and safety risks. He leads Shape-Up, a project using analytics to help city residents reduce firearm violence through environmental improvements (winner of the $100k Everytown for Gun Safety Prize and a 2019 Solver with MIT Solve). Dr. Jay previously served as a research fellow for the Firearm-Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) Consortium, led by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and for the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children’s Hospital. He also consults on public health and safety with Portland (OR) Fire & Rescue.

Before receiving his doctorate in public health (DrPH) from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Jay trained as a lawyer-ethicist and worked in global health policy. He received a BA with honors from Brown University, a JD cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, and an MA in philosophy from Georgetown University.

Jonathan Jay’s CV

Project Manager

Rachel Martin, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, is a MPH student at the Boston University School of Public Health, pursuing certificates in Health Policy and Law, and Human Rights and Social Justice. As part of the 4+1 BS/MPH program, Rachel graduated from Boston University Sargent College with a BS in Health Science and a minor in Environmental Analysis and Policy in May 2022. Outside of her academic and research work, Rachel enjoys running, teaching yoga, and reading. 

Postdoctoral Fellows

Zihan Lin holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University (2021) and a M.S. in Geographic Information Science from Clark University. As an environmental geographer, Zihan is interested in exploring human-environment interactions, especially the environment-health nexus, using remote sensing, GIS, spatial modeling and analytics. She has studied how hydropower dams affect the Mekong River Basin ecosystem and the influence of urban green space on human health in the United States. Currently, she is working on the association between environmental factors (e.g., temperature, green space) and gun violence incidents. Zihan loves reading speculative fiction, hiking, and traveling (as a food traveler).

Research Assistants

Manish Patel is originally from Edison, New Jersey. He is a fourth-year BA/MS student at the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Economics, pursuing a career in Data Science. Aside from being a RISE Lab research assistant, he also participates as a CS Ambassador, serving as a peer mentor for incoming freshmen students studying computer science at BU, and is an executive board member of Sigma Beta Rho, a multicultural social fraternity on-campus. Manish also previously worked as an Economic Research Analyst Intern at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. 

Kristal Xie recently graduated Boston University with a B.S. in Health Science. As a member of the RISE Lab, she works on projects about urban health, focusing on the relationship between health and the built environment. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and exploring new places.

Faizah Shareef is a dual MD/MBA student at Boston University with an interest in the intersection of racial equity, community safety, and healthcare. She has worked in gun violence prevention research and has been recognized for her efforts in this space by the American Medical Association. Faizah also volunteers with a non-profit known as the Phoenix, with an aim to support those in recovery from substance use. She hopes to create a lasting impact on the community while improving the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.

Jaii Pappu is originally from Robbinsville, New Jersey. He is a second-year student at the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Psychological Brain Sciences, on the MD-PhD track with interest in Computer Science. Jaii is also an Ambassador for Boston University Admissions and serves on the Admissions Student Diversity Board on the Boston Outreach Committee, reaching out to the Boston Public Schools and the community. Aside from his academic passions, Jaii also loves working out at FitRec, scrolling through TikTok, and exploring new coffee shops in the city!

Alexa Courtepatte is originally from Toronto, Canada and graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.S. degree in Neuroscience. She is currently a MPH student at Boston University, focusing on Community Program Design and Substance Use and Mental Health. Alexa is interested in medicine and also does clinical research in Urogynecology. Previous research of hers includes Huntington’s disease research in mice and clinical research in the setting of the U of R Emergency Department. When she is not doing research or school work, she does Crossfit, works at her Crossfit gym, crochets, and dances.  

Emma Weinberger is pursuing her MPH at Boston University, with a focus on Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation. Originally from California, she completed her BA in Psychology from the University of San Francisco which led her into the world of community-based mental health. She is passionate about eliminating access barriers to individuals seeking mental health care, especially for those who have experienced violence or other significant life stressors. In her free time she enjoys reading, playing board games, and eating dumplings.

Suzanne McLone is a doctoral student in Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health. Originally from Chicago, she received her BA in English Literature an BS in Biological Sciences from Loyola University of Chicago, and her MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Prior to returning to graduate school, she was the lead epidemiologist for the CDC-Funded Illinois Violent Death Reporting System and Illinois’ State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System. She is interested in the intersection of firearm violence and the built, social, and legal/policy environments in cities, and how this research can be translated to successful programmatic efforts and policy solutions to prevent urban firearm violence. In her free time, she enjoys getting to know her new city by finding the best coffee shops in Boston.

Research Affiliates

Kalice Allen is a recent graduate of the Boston University School of Public Health where she studied Health Policy and Law, and Maternal and Child Health. She is currently Senior Research Associate at Everytown for Gun Safety. In 2017, she received a bachelor of science in public health from St. Catherine University. Prior to pursuing a graduate degree, she has worked in philanthropy, sex education and HIV/AIDS outreach, youth development, maternal and child health, and community organizing. Areas of interest include political education, reproductive justice, community safety, and human rights.

Past Contributors

Felicia Heykoop, MPH is a recent graduate of the Boston University School of Public Health where they studied health policy and law and previous RISE Labs project manager. In 2011, they received a dual BA in applied anthropology and film production in Southeast Los Angeles, close to where they grew up. Prior to pursuing a graduate degree, they were involved in documentary production and worked as a makeup artist for film and television. Areas of study include social movements, policy change, and human rights advocacy.

Andrea Kuriyama is currently a senior studying Health Science through the Sargent College of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation at Boston University. Andrea is passionate about public health and aims to obtain her Master’s Degree of Public Health after graduation. Her work in research thus far has touched on many different topics such as the quality of the urban environment to maternal and child health as well as some work relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jordan Boulay originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts is a fourth-year student at Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences and is pursuing his degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Society and Humanities in Healthcare. Aside from being a research assistant for RISE Lab, you can find Jordan running in his free time or volunteering at Dana Farber as a Patient Ambassador for patients acclimating to their first visits at the hospital. This coming spring Jordan will be pursuing his co-op as an Ophthalmic Assistant at Mass Eye and Ear. Jordan is also a Bouve College Student Ambassador answering prospective students questions and attending (virtual) fairs to help them through their admissions at Northeastern University. Aside from his academic passions, some of his hobbies include tennis, running, and spinning.